Fatal overdoses soaring across country during pandemic

New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate fatal overdoses were already up 16% from January through March of this year and intervention specialists said the stress and uncertainty from impacts of COVID-19 could drive that number higher.

Adam Jablin is a recovering alcoholic and has been sober for 14 years. He said he understands what would tempt a user to resort to drug abuse, especially this year, as the pandemic presses on.

"COVID with drug addiction and alcoholism has been the worst mix in the world," he said. "I have clients who say this is real, I have credit card debt, and it's COVID, I help them pick up the phone, call American Express, call Visa, get an extension explain what happened and you want to know what every credit card said? 'Of course...A lot of times we are projecting the worst."

"If someone has crossed the line and they’re like me, everything is a trigger, the good times the bad times. You're so uncomfortable with your own thoughts that are going 24-7 that you’re constantly looking for relief," he said.


Jablin said now is the time to pay attention to your loved ones. Signs can vary. Sings include:

  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Facial swelling
  • A sunken in face
  • Slurred words
  • Paranoia

"Asking someone where they’ve been shouldn’t feel like a threatening question. Asking someone 'how many drinks have you had', shouldn’t be a threatening question," Jablin said.

Jablin said his family intervened and helped hold him accountable, but this year, because of the coronavirus, many people are fighting substance abuse alone.

"There’s plenty of 1-800 substance abuse numbers, rehab facilities that can give you tons of education like the Hanley center, you can also contact local 12 step programs, churches, synagogues, mosques...it’s amazing that once you do a bit of research, the amount of people trying to help is plentiful," Jablin said.

The national hotline for substance abuse is 1-800-662-4357.

A database of treatment options is available here.

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